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Enabling immigrants to easily know and exercise their rights

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A digital agent to help migrants navigate bureaucracy

Using artificial intelligence, the EU-funded EASYRIGHTS project has developed a number of solutions geared towards helping immigrants navigate the complex rules and administrative culture surrounding many public services.

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The integration of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers remains a challenge not only for the host communities, but also for the immigrants themselves. Knowing that the key to successful integration is having strong, vibrant and inclusive communities, the EASYRIGHTS (Enabling immigrants to easily know and exercise their rights) project is building technology-based solutions designed to overcome some of the hidden barriers to immigrant integration. “A lack of information and low proficiency in the host country’s language may lead to failures in a migrant’s interaction with services and procedures and, consequently, to social exclusion,” says Grazia Concilio, EASYRIGHTS project coordinator and professor of Urban Planning in the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies at the Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy.

Personalised, context-aware support

For many immigrants, accessing and using public services means navigating a complex web of administration. “While this bureaucracy can be challenging for anyone to navigate, it is particularly challenging for immigrants, who face not only a language barrier, but also complex rules and an administrative culture that they have no basis of familiarity with,” explains Maryam Karimi, a project researcher and part of the coordination team at the Polytechnic University of Milan. Complex problems such as this can’t be solved using one-dimensional ‘ad hoc’ solutions. Ensuring that services respond to the very special needs of immigrants requires a collaborative approach, one that involves service providers, public authorities and end users alike – which is exactly what the EASYRIGHTS project did. “Bringing together immigrants, the public sector and private organisations, we developed a portfolio of solutions capable of providing personalised, context-aware support to users,” adds Karimi.

Simplifying complex documents

Among those solutions, all of which have been integrated within the easyRights agent, is the Pathway Generator. This artificial intelligence-based tool uses natural language understanding to automatically translate verbose and lengthy documents into easy-to-follow instructions. The result is a list of procedures that takes the form of steps, with information organised by ‘what’, ‘how’, ‘where’ and ‘when’. Following pilot programmes in Greece, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, the easyRights agent is currently able to help migrants with asylum requests, acquiring work permits, submitting birth certificates, certifying one’s nationality and registering at the local registry office. It can also help with job applications and accessing English as a second language courses. It is currently able to work in 10 languages: Arabic, Bengali, English, Farsi, French, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Ukrainian and Urdu. “Public services play a crucial role in the successful integration of migrants, and the EASYRIGHTS project demonstrated that by facilitating this interaction, we can help improve immigrants’ capacity to exercise their rights,” concludes Concilio.


EASYRIGHTS, migrant, public services, artificial intelligence, refugees, immigrants, natural language understanding

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